Bumper year welcome
Total winter crop production in Victoria is estimated to more than double in 2016-17 off the back of favourable spring conditions and estimated high yields.
The Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources report is welcome relief for farmers, who experienced well below average yields in the 2015-16 season.
Peter Tuohey — who grows wheat, barley, field peas and canola on his property in Terrick East — said it was a great season.
‘‘Crop yields were exceptionally good . . . we finished up reasonably well,’’ he said.
Yet with the good conditions, Mr Tuohey acknowledged there was a plentiful supply of grain, with many filling up silos.
‘‘The domestic market is pretty quiet, that’s the downside on such a good year,’’ he said.
While Mr Tuohey enjoyed the record year, he recognised that falling prices meant the season wasn’t as lucrative as it could have been.
‘‘I might prefer a little less yield, for better price. Would mean I’d have to cart less!’’ he said.
‘‘That would probably be better for everyone.’’
While many farmers experienced bumper crops, many were still at the mercy of the weather.
Hamish Sinclair from Devenish — who grows wheat, barley, canola and soba beans — said some of his areas underperformed due to excess water.
‘‘Ours was a bit of an up and down year this year, it was only an average season for us,’’ he said.
‘‘Our better drained country performed quite well.’’
Mr Sinclair echoed Mr Tuohey’s comments on price.
‘‘Prices are also down 25 to 30 per cent which takes the shine off it a little,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s always next year in our game.’’
Overall, wheat growers were the big winners for the season, with production expected to have more than doubled to 5.2 million tonnes.
The rise has largely been driven by a 133 per cent increase in the average yield, to a record high 3.35 tonnes/ha.
Canola production is also estimated to have doubled, with more than 700 000 tonnes to have been produced, an estimated record average yield.
Barley also experienced a bumper year, with a 137 per cent jump in production and an average 3.4 tonnes/ha, while canola production doubled, despite a four per cent decrease in planted area.
More in the Cropping and Tillage feature, with today’s Country News.
Excellent yield . . . Farmers experienced a bumper year, with winter crop production estimated to have doubled.